Archive for August, 2019

HOW TO MODIFY YOUR TEXAS CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS

HOW TO MODIFY YOUR TEXAS CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS

Texas family law states that a court may modify a child custody order if the change is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:

1. The circumstances of the child or parent have materially or substantially changed since the date of the original child custody order or order to be modified.

2. The child is at least 12 years of age and will tell the court in private chambers with the judge that he/she would like a change.

3. The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months.

Material or Substantial Change

What could be acceptable as a change for the Texas family courts? Examples include a parent’s remarriage, a medical condition the affects a parent’s ability take care of the child, a parent’s criminal record, a parent’s change in residence, family violence, drug or alcohol related issues, and other material changes concerning adequate care and supervision of the child.

Child Wants Change

The child must be at least 12 years of age and maybe interviewed in the judge’s chambers. The court will consider the child’s desire but only make a change if it is in the child’s best interest.

Custody Relinquishment

This happens when the custodial parent has voluntarily given up custody of the child to another person for at least six months. This does not apply to a period of military deployment or duty.

After finding one of the three prerequisites, the court must still consider whether the change will be in the child’s best interest. The court will consider factors affecting the child’s physical, emotional, mental, education, social, moral or disciplinary welfare and development.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR EX DENIES VISITATION

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR EX DENIES VISITATION

Protecting your rights Your response when your ex violates your court-ordered visitation rights depends on the circumstances. For example, if you fear your child is in danger from your ex, a reasonable response is to contact law enforcement. In most other cases, however, a more systematic approach is effective.

This begins with keeping a log of the times when your ex fails to honor your visitation rights, such as denying you time with the child, showing up late for drop-offs or constantly rescheduling. The next steps you can take include the following:

• Meet with your ex to discuss the reasons for the denial of visitation. Your ex may have concerns you can alleviate, and you may be able to avoid taking any unpleasant steps to protect your rights.

• Make a non-emergency call or visit to the police station so you have a formal report of the violation.

• Reach out to an attorney about seeking enforcement of your visitation order through the courts. This may include exercising your right to make up for visitation time your ex has previously denied.

• Discuss with your attorney the option of seeking a modification of your court order to obtain more time with your child.

• File a motion asking the court to hold your ex in contempt for refusing to comply with the court-ordered visitation plan. This is a drastic step that may result in fines or even jail for your ex, so think carefully before making this move.

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WHY ‘MEDIATION’ IN A DIVORCE CASE IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

WHY ‘MEDIATION’ IN A DIVORCE CASE IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

Couples in Texas should know that the divorce process can be very stressful, both financially and emotionally. There are a number of issues that have to be addressed, many of which can result in heated disputes. However, divorcing couples can use mediation to help to resolve conflicts and arrive at mutually agreeable divorce settlement terms.

People who have children or a number high-value assets or debts form the marriage can use a family law attorney or family mediator to help guide them during the divorce. Another bonus of divorce mediation is that it can limit the emotional, financial and time costs commonly associated with a conventional and litigated divorce.

Reducing the costs associated with divorce is a wise business decision. According to nation-wide surveys, the costs of divorce obtained through mediation range from $1,500 to $3,000, compared to $15,000 to $40,000 in costs for divorce obtained through litigation. The lowered costs can be significantly beneficial to families who may be experiencing financial difficulties when supporting two households.

Opting for mediation during the divorce process may also reduce future legal costs. There can be many points of contention during a litigious divorce, which can result in both parties filing many legal modifications and appeals. Such extended legal conflict can be a burden on a family’s finances.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR EX WON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR EX WON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT

1. Get the child support in writing: Child support obligations are created by court orders. If you don’t already have a formal written agreement with your ex, you need to go to court and get it in writing.

2. Talk to your ex-spouse: You don’t have to talk to them if there is friction between the two of you, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Negotiating with them is quicker and cheaper than many other options of getting child support money.

3. Keep the other parent involved anyways: You may feel like pushing someone who isn’t paying child support away, but it’s not a good move. By keeping them involved in your children’s daily activities and other things going on,that helps your ex stay invested in your children and they may be more likely to pay child support when they can afford it.

4. Don’t depend on child support: If your ex isn’t dependable, never build their child support payments into your budget. Keep it separate, that way if it stops, it won’t hurt your child. Any money you do get from your ex can be saved.

5. Ask your ex to at least pay some: If they can’t pay all of the child support, ask them to pitch in what they can. Some money is better than no money and eventually, if you go to court, they may still have to pay back what they owe.

6. Get the courts involved: If your ex isn’t making any effort to pay, you can get the courts to garnish your ex’s wages, withhold their tax refunds, or even toss them in jail.

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BACK TO SCHOOL CALENDARS AND CHILD CUSTODY SCHEDULES

BACK TO SCHOOL CALENDARS AND CHILD CUSTODY SCHEDULES

With the start of the school year quickly approaching, parents with children who are too young for school often don’t realize that the school calendar plays a big role in their possession schedule. Possession schedules and school calendars often go hand-in-hand. It is important for both parents to know what day school lets out as that can greatly affect the amount of possession the parent has. Not knowing when school releases could cost you several days of possession.

School calendars also affect more than just holiday possession. In a standard possession order, extended summer possession also has a provision that directly relates to the end of the school year as well as the beginning of the next school year.

It is important for every parent, regardless of the child’s age, to have a copy of their local school calendar each year and make note of important dates. It is also important to note early dismissal times, because if your visitation begins at the time school dismisses and it is early release day, you may have to make additional arrangements for your child or leave work earlier.

Most school districts post their school calendars on the school website several months before school begins. You will want to get a copy of the school calendar for the school your child attends or would attend if they were school age, so you can notate important dates that relate to your particular possession schedule and prepared well.

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SEEKING A CHILD SUPPORT REDUCTION/MODIFICATION IN TEXAS IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO PAY 

SEEKING A CHILD SUPPORT REDUCTION/MODIFICATION IN TEXAS IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO PAY

When noncustodial parents cannot pay the child support payments that they have been ordered to make, they need to contact the court clerk and the Office of the Attorney General right away. The court does not reduce or reimburse payments if parents fall behind on providing the funds, and notifying the OAG or court clerk does not automatically result in lower monthly payments. To achieve this, the parent needs to file for a modification to the child support orders and obtain a new one.

Noncustodial parents could qualify for child support order modifications if substantial changes have occurred in their lives and are affecting their ability to make payments. There are two main criteria considered for a modification. The child support order must be at least three years old, and the amount of the payments must differ by $100 or 20 percent compared to what the parent would pay if the order is changed.

One reason why noncustodial parents may seek modifications to child support orders is the loss of employment. The court might require parents in this position to demonstrate that they are searching for other jobs or are part of employment training schemes. such as the program that the Texas Workforce Commission offers.

As soon as noncustodial parents lose their jobs and are unsure of when they could obtain employment again, it may be in their best interests to seek a child support order modification

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WHAT CAN I DO IF MY EX WITHHOLDS MY CHILD VISITATION

WHAT CAN I DO IF MY EX WITHHOLDS MY CHILD VISITATION

While a child visitation agreement establishes the amount of time that a child spends with each parent, there are many cases when custodial parents—without any cause whatsoever—prevent noncustodial parents from seeing their kids for weeks, months, and even years.

The following are the steps you can take to stop the custodial parent from withholding child visitation:

• Keep track of any missed visitation time – Any time visitation was denied, you should record the dates in a calendar, notebook, or even an online document. Additionally, keep copies of any correspondence with your ex-spouse.

• Attempt to resolve the issue on your own – Before taking any legal action against your ex-spouse, at least try to amicably work things out. Attempt to schedule make-up dates for any lost time.

• Let your attorney handle the situation –A lawyer can draft an official letter stating that the interference with visitation is unacceptable and you are willing to go to court to enforce your rights. This might be enough to encourage your ex-spouse to comply.

• Go to court – If your ex-spouse continues to withhold support, despite sending the letter, you can raise the issue before a judge. By filing a motion to enforce, the court will issue an order to make up any time missed, as well as order the cost of court and attorney fees to your ex.

Remember, withholding child support as retaliation is never a good idea.

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